Mundelein High School sweethearts tie the knot
Mundelein, 3/23/01 --Pioneer Press Columnist, Millie Maughton.
Updated: May 27, 2012 8:03AM
Ah, l’amour. Or in this case, ‘el amor’.
For those of you still monolingual, the first is French, and the second is Spanish -- but both mean love.
In celebrating Mundelein High School’s 50th anniversary, we get to know Mindy Sierzega and Jeff Korn, a couple of graduates that started out as high school sweethearts. Although they both were on the respective gymnastics teams for MHS, they met in, of all places, Spanish class. When Mindy came in after one weekend with an injured knee, Jeff asked her what had happened. It didn’t take long from there that Jeff and Mindy were a couple.
There was a short “break” in Jeff’s senior year when Mindy was a junior. But when they realized they really were meant to be together, they reunited and survived going to different colleges. Jeff attended UIC, and Mindy was downstate at Illinois State. Their long-distance relationship worked because they trusted each other and grew independently. Although they have similar laid-back personalities, they looked forward to the time when they could be really together.
While looking for jobs after graduation Mindy and Jeff ended up back home in Mundelein. Mindy found herself student teaching in Hawthorn’s Dual Language program and landed a position as a second grade teacher, something she had wanted as long as she could remember. With Jeff’s encouragement, she went to live and teach in Ecuador for six weeks the summer before she began her new job. Meanwhile Jeff pursued his career choice in nursing and also found a job. It was during this time that they felt like things were falling into place for their next chapter together.
Jeff made the end of Mindy’s first teaching year memorable by being a Mystery Reader for her class, a common practice in the younger grades in which an adult surprises the class by coming in to read a book for a few minutes. When Jeff finished the book, he told the group of emerging bilingual students how wonderful it was that they were learning Spanish at such a young age. In fact, he told them, he and Miss Sierzega had met in Spanish class. It was then that he asked the class if they wanted to know how that story ended. When the class answered yes, he got down on one knee to propose to a stunned Mindy.
The principal had been standing by with her camera and managed a few shots, students screamed and cried with happiness, and nearby teachers stopped by to congratulate the newly engaged couple.
Mindy and Jeff stretched out their engagement a bit, and were married last summer in a beautiful ceremony. And it only took 10 years after their first meeting. So you can see that truly, “el amor es fantástico!”
Contact Mundelein Musings at: firstname.lastname@example.org